Angela Merkel Sacks Her Environment Minister, German Face Of Renewable Energy, Norbert Röttgen!

Chancellor Angela Merkel has sacked her Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen after having been routed in state elections in North Rhine Westphalia. Röttgen was a leading minister in Merkel’s cabinet and was responsible for overseeing the country’s shift to renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Röttgen had been a favorite of Merkel, and soon became the face of German renewable energy and a leading proponent of global CO2 reductions through binding UN treaties.

Röttgen even called opponents of renewable energies, and power utility managers, “fear-mongers”. Critics had often warned that Germany’s rush to renewables had been reckless, hasty, blind and not even thought out, and now risks wreaking havoc on the German economy.

Under Röttgen, since Fukushima, electricity prices nationwide have skyrocketed and most solar manufacturing plants in Germany have become insolvent, shedding thousands of jobs. Earlier this year Röttgen was forced to knee-jerk react by implementing reductions in the nation’s solar feed-in tariffs (FIT), which fuelled anger and loud protest from the solar industry and powerful interest groups.

Moreover, since Fukushima, Röttgen led Germany’s ambitious offshore wind energy program, but has failed to provide the necessary power grid expansion and transmission lines needed to take the energy to markets on shore and deep into southern Germany. Today this necessary infrastructure is nowhere in sight.

In summary, Röttgen managed to march Germany into an energy debacle in just a year’s time. Its power grid is faced with the risk of collapse.

Why Röttgen failed: Lawyers who cannot differentiate between a light bulb and a smelting plant

Merkel says in a statement:

The transformation to renewable energy is central project of this legislative period. The basis has been laid down for it, but we still have a lot of work to do […] It is obvious that implementing the transformation to renewable energy still requires great effort.”

Peter Heller at Science Skeptical translates Merkel’s political cyphertext into plain language:

We haven’t accomplished anything and it is unclear how we are going to accomplish anything at all.”

Heller also offers good insights on why Röttgen failed, and failed so quickly (emphasis added).

Norbert Röttgen is a lawyer. That has its advantages, especially when one is very much involved as a politician in lawmaking. However, having no technical understanding is a disadvantage when political intentions get poured into legislation without taking physical science and laws into consideration. […] Him getting sacked was thus inevitable. Thus he becomes the first political victim of the energy transformation to renewables. And he certainly will not be the last.”

And let that be a warning to those who wish to continue blindly down the path of rescuing the climate.

Norbert Röttgen’s replacement, Peter Altmaier, is also a lawyer. And Heller does not expect him to be much of an improvement, writing.

Also someone who knows nothing about grid frequency and voltage stability, and also someone who probably thinks that because a flashlkight can operate with a battery, then so can an aluminum smelting plant.”

On the political approach to renewable energy, Altmaier is quoted saying:

The energy transformation to renewables is a challenge for all of society.”

Heller deciphers, elaborates:

Challenge, not necessity. One can also interpret that as, ‘Not me, but all of us will be to blame if it doesn”t work out’. […]

We’ll see whether Altmaier stays with it. If he succumbs to showmanship like Röttgen did, then he will not survive very long. The laws of physics will see to that. No lawyer can regulate them away.”

Unfortunately it’s a lesson that German lawyers and lawmakers have a hard time learning.


22 responses to “Angela Merkel Sacks Her Environment Minister, German Face Of Renewable Energy, Norbert Röttgen!”

  1. BargHumer

    I can’t see why Merkel fired him – what is her reason?

  2. Rudolf Kipp

    It will be interesting to watch, how (or how not) Altmaier will continue the great energy transformation. According to (=delegate-watch) Altmaier has a clear position on energy:

    -Extension of nuclear run-time: Yes
    -Levy of additional gains on nuclear plant life extension: yes
    -Faster reduction of the feed in the EEG: Yes
    -Reductions in solar subsidies: Yes
    -Immediate shutdown of old nuclear power plant: No

  3. DirkH

    They key insight by Heller is this: Röttgen had the job of occupying the clean energy argument to neutralize the Greens but instead became a True Believer himself. So he became a problem for Merkel, who knows that you can’t stay in power by looting the working population for a distant vision.

    Merkel promised last year that the EEG fee would stay at 3.5 cents/kWh; I am pretty sure that it was her order to Röttgen to do what it takes to make that happen. Recently, experts have forecast the need to raise it to 4.5 or 5 cent next year – I would bet that forecast broke Röttgen’s neck…

    Now Merkel and Altmaier could endorse Vahrenholt’s argument – that the “cold sun” gives Germany a lot of time to switch to renewable energy.

    This means: Less immediate investment in offshore wind; a re-scheduling of the projects; fast-paced greenlighting for all possible quick expansions of fossil fuel power plants to alleviate the immediate crisis.

    Short Nordex, Infineon, Vestas and everything solar; neutral Siemens, GE.

    1. DirkH

      (Disclosure: I’m not invested in any of them at the moment)

  4. joe bastardi

    Until such time renewable energy sources are a proven more efficient and economical way to fuel the economic progress of any nation, it is folly to think one can create something out of nothing. It took years to get us to be this efficient in non renewable sources ( a misnomer, since while it takes a longer time, the life cycle of the earth renews fossil fuels anyway) and the idea that we are suddenly going to create the magic link to this, like its facebook or the i-pod is either ignorance out of arrogance, or arrogance out of ignorance

    There is the actual choice

  5. Rudolf Kipp

    A translation of the whole article into english is now available at the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

  6. Alex

    AFAIK, Angela Merkel is a science PhD if I am not mistaken, in Physical Chemistry. So, if she has read the book Die Kalte Sonne written by her German peers and friends scientists, showing how and why anthropogenic global warming is not happening she would start to understand that it was all a scientific mistake (if not a complete scam) and therefore subsidising heavily those mega wind turbines and PV’s was pure economical folly.

    I tend to suspect that there is a sea-change coming in politics w.r.t. green energy. This green energy scam willdie the death it deserves sooner than we might think.

    Good one Dr. Merkel.

    1. oeman50

      But physical chemistry is not climate science. And when all of the electorate overwhelmingly think “97% of all climate scientists” believe “the debate is over,” how does science even enter into it? It is politics, not science, and Dr. Merkel has obviously made her choice between the two.

  7. Ingemar Nordin

    There is an interesting article about how Canada have managed to bury their old foolish climatpolicy. Some lessons to be learned for european politicians?

  8. thebiggreenlie

    This failed Green Experiment has literally ruined many people’s lives World-wide and when the day eventually comes to place the perpetrators on trial for this criminal enterprise all we can hope for is that the punishment fits the crime.
    Maybe the same lawyers who have become “green politicians” can make even more $$$ representing themselves in the court room?

  9. John F. Hultquist

    This sounds like good news – not great though — a course correction but not a full turn. The other analogy is ‘the first rule of holes’ — so maybe they have stopped digging and are in a quandary as to ‘now what’?

    Chancellor Angela should be sent a copy of the following that she should be well able to read:

    Understanding E = mc2
    By William Tucker

    DirkH “Short Nordex, ” and so on. Then “(Disclosure: I’m not invested in any of them at the moment)”

    Unfortunately some of us old farts have broad category mutual funds and, thus, we already own shares in these “great” companies. When a company is in the Fund’s index they own it and they don’t short (or most don’t). Life is hard!

    thebiggreenlie: “place the perpetrators on trial for this criminal enterprise”

    This is a common thought but not likely to happen. I don’t think there is a law against being stupid. Some may be found to have used their positions in criminal ways – maybe by having their agency write a contract to a brother-in-law’s firm, hiding investments and not paying taxes, and so on. In the USA, the government brought Al Capone into court for tax evasion – not for the serious crimes he was famous for. It will take a very determined justice system of the future (not likely) to search for the misdeeds of the climate-scam perpetrators.

    1. DirkH

      I had funds as well. But when you watch things anyway you can just as well trade individual stocks. Added bonus, you instead of the fund get the dividends.

    2. Mindert Eiting

      Well said John. A late friend of mine, who was a young man during WWII, once told me that he was the most afraid in that time not of bombardments but of stupid people. The law does nor forbid stupidity but for some players I doubt whether this suffices. Because I am in favour of financial punishment, I would like to see Al Gore ripped of all his money and see him in a row for the soup service of the Salvation Army. But you are right, the AGW scam will not have much legal consequences. Many alarmists may hope hope that everything will be forgotten soon. That’s perhaps the best solution, as Canada may show.

  10. Casper

    I hope it is just the beginning…

  11. Verity Jones

    It’s interesting to watch Germany, the early adopter, take the lead again in backing down.

    1. DirkH

      From 1999 to 2007 we had a red-green coalition. Advice: Don’t vote greens into power. Oh, that was also the time when Greece was invited into the Eurozone. Entered 1 January 2001. Funny coincidence that.

  12. Edward.

    Dig for coal boys, you know its a warm feeling, Norbert is a clown with a bee in his bonnet – even Angie couldn’t bear him any longer, he had to be swatted.

    BTW, Dirk – same old same old………..


  13. Angela Merkel schakelt Duitse milieuminister uit

    […] verblinde onvermogen om naar de Duitse industrie te heeft natuurlijk Engelstalig commentaar en grijpt daarbij ook terug op een schitterende analyse van Peter Heller met het volgende […]

  14. Bohemond

    Like most lawyers, Röttgen believed he could find a loophole in any law- including those of physics.

    That deep pulsing sound you hear is the universe laughing at him.

  15. Brian H

    That Ottawa Citizen article about Canada’s Conservative gov’t is whiny and disapproving. I think we’ll see a lot more of that as politicians scamper to avoid going down with the Good Ship Greenscam.

  16. GregO

    I know it’s rude behavior, but who can blame me if I just point and laugh!

  17. DirkH

    A debacle of Huhnatic proportions.

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